The latest focus of left-wing rage are the Koch Brothers, whose philanthropy includes support of conservative causes. The group Common Cause bused in a bunch of sign-waving lefties to a Koch-sponsored resort in California, and Ian Lovett in California and Eric Lichtblau in Washington collaborated on a story for Monday's edition: "Protesters Take On Conservative Retreat ." At least the labeling was somewhat balanced.
So much for a quiet little weekend getaway.
An invitation-only political retreat for rich conservatives, run out of the spotlight for years by a pair of Kansas billionaires, became a public rallying point for liberal outrage on Sunday, as 11 busloads of protesters converged on a resort in the Southern California desert.
An estimated 800 to 1,000 protesters from a spectrum of liberal groups vented their anger chiefly at Charles and David Koch, brothers who have used many millions of dollars from the energy conglomerate they run in Wichita to finance conservative causes. More than two dozen protesters, camera crews swarming around them, were arrested on trespassing charges when they went onto the resort grounds.
Liberal groups have begun a calculated political and legal strategy in recent weeks to make the Koch brothers a target of their efforts to stop the Republican momentum.
Common Cause, a liberal advocacy group that helped organize the rally and a panel discussion nearby on the brothers' influence, filed a petition with the Justice Department this month challenging the Citizens United ruling and arguing that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should not have taken part in the case because they had attended the Koch brothers' retreat as speakers and were biased. It was not known if the justices attended Sunday's gathering.
One irony of this protest of conservative billionaires for attempting to influence U.S. politics was missed by the Times but noted by Examiner reporter Tim Carney , who spoke at the conference: "The protest's organizer, the nonprofit Common Cause, is funded by billionaire George Soros." Soros openly pushed for Bush's defeat in 2004 and has donated millions to liberal causes through his Open Society Institute.
Common Cause has received $2 million from Soros's Open Society Institute in the past eight years, according to grant data provided by Capital Research Center. Two panelists at Common Cause's rival conference nearby - President Obama's former green jobs czar, Van Jones, and blogger Lee Fang - work at the Center for American Progress, which was started and funded by Soros but, as a 501(c)4 nonprofit "think tank," legally conceals the names of its donors.